8 Tips to a Better Relationship With Your Boss

By Stephanie Zonars

Most of us have a boss.

Someone that has a lot of say as to our professional fate.

For head coaches overwhelmed with the demands of running a program, investing time in building a better relationship with their athletic director—often called “managing up”— can seem daunting.

Many coaches don’t feel heard by administration and don’t believe that their administrator is in it to help them.


I attended a session at a recent WBCA convention that addressed the challenges both coaches and athletic directors face in creating a stronger relationship.

The panel included:

  • China Jude (Assistant VP/Athletics—Queens College)
  • Elizabeth Naumovski (Head Women’s Basketball Coach—Queens College)
  • Lindy Roberts-Ivy (Senior Associate AD/SWA— Oklahoma)
  • Sherri Coale (Head Women’s Basketball Coach—Oklahoma) and
  • Patti Phillips of NACWAA as the moderator.

The discussion offered some helpful ideas for coaches to develop a stronger connection with their boss.

8 Tips for A Better Relationship With Your Boss

1. Ask for two formal meetings a year (certainly you will meet more than this, but these two are the bare minimum)

  • The first is to set expectations and mutually agreed upon objectives. This can help administrators take away obstacles in order for the coach to achieve his/her goals.
  • The second is a mid-year review to check in on progress.

2. Attend other sporting events and take the opportunity to engage in conversation with your AD there.

This is a good way to address things that come up in a less formal way that doesn’t require setting up a meeting.

3. Be proactive and talk about things as they come up, not just at annual meetings.

Nothing should be brought up in an annual review that hadn’t been discussed earlier in the year. [Tweet That!]

4. Invite your administrator to practice.

And keep inviting them if they say no!

5. Ask for what you need, not just what you want.

6. Add value on campus.

Get involved by serving on committees, scooping ice cream, tasting chili, etc. How can you enrich the culture?

7. Be consistent in communication.

Talk about the great things happening with your team and make sure that he/she hears anything negative from you before getting a phone call about it.

8. Take the initiative to understand the climate/culture on campus.

Stay informed about campus happenings through whatever means available (daily or weekly emails, social media, etc).


A little proactivity and effort can go a long way when it comes to building a strong relationship with your boss. What would you add to this list?


8 Tips to a Better Relationship With Your Boss appeared first on Life Beyond Sport.

The following two tabs change content below.
Stephanie Zonars helps coaches build and maintain championship cultures through her business, Life Beyond Sport. Teams at Penn State, Notre Dame, West Point and over 65 other schools have built stronger trust, communication and teamwork through her workshops. Stephanie spent three years on staff with the Penn State women’s basketball team, assisting the team to back-to-back Big Ten Championships. An author of four books, she now serves as Assistant AD of Marketing & Promotions at Cedarville University. Learn more at LifeBeyondSport.com.

Latest posts by Stephanie Zonars (see all)

Related posts